Kudzu, Pueraria montanaThis file is presented by : Invasive Plant Watch Network
You will find this file at : http://www.rspee.glu.org/recherche_espece/fiche_espece.php?recordID=441&lan=en
Length: 10-30 m
Leaves: compound, alternate, divided into 3 whole or deeply lobed leaflets 8-18 cm in length and 6-20 cm in width
Flowers: rose, reddish and mauve, arranged in bunches, extended, blooms mid- to late summer
Fruits: flattened, brown, hairy, open like envelopes to release seeds
Branches: woody, with white hollows in the bark
Particular Features: Kudzu gives off a menthol fragrance when cut. The plant appears ligneous but is rather spongy to the touch.
Open areas, forests, agricultural zones, fields, ditches, road embankments, forest strips, and wetlands
Natural history :
Native to Asia, Kudzu was first imported into the United States in 1876 for the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia. The plant was utilized for many decades afterward as fodder, and to control road embankment erosion. By the middle of the 20th century, Kudzu had been identified as a significant problem in the United States. Control measures and soil impoverishment due to Kudzu currently result in estimated annual losses of $500 million US. This species has by now invaded thousands of square kilometres, with a distribution area that extends throughout the Southern states and to Pennsylvania, New York, Washington and North Dakota. It has a limited presence in Ohio and Michigan. Unlike the situation in Canada, Kudzu is subject to strict controls in the United States.
Already well-established in many American states, Kudzu is relentlessly moving northward, with the milder winters and longer, hotter summers associated with climate change favouring an expanded distribution area. Kudzu was first observed in Canada in 2009, more precisely in a 120 x 50 m infested zone on the shores of Lake Erie, near Leamington in Southwestern Ontario. Even if only recently discovered, it is highly probable that Kudzu has been growing in this location for many years. In all probability, the original locus of this colony was in Ohio, where the species is established, with plant fragments apparently being brought to Ontario shores by Lake Erie water currents. Since the propagation potential of this species is very high, the Government of Ontario quickly implemented an eradication plan.
Kudzu produce seeds, but few are viable, and those that are require many years to germinate. Plant propagation occurs mostly from rhizomes, which can produce up to 30 vines from a single root system. The speed of Kudzu growth is stupefying, up to 30 cm per day, and 30 m in a single season. The plant requires abundant sunlight but can also do well in shade. Kudzu is a powerful invader that covers almost everything it encounters, including trees, telephone and electricity poles, fences, homes and road signs. By covering electricity line structures, Kudzu invasion can cause power outages. Other plant species cannot survive colonization by Kudzu, and trees die, suffocated by the weight of vines and lack of light. Moreover, Kudzu is a host plant for Soybean Rust, a non-native disease caused by a Japanese fungus that ravages soy crops.
Kudzu can be confused with the following species:
Here are a few suggested plants you can use in ecologically sound plantings:
Bibliography and references :
1. Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments, 2007.
2. Fédération des Pêcheurs et Chasseurs de l’Ontario, 2009. Kudzu Vine: One of the Most Un-Wanted Invasive Plant Species. www.invadingspecies.com/Invaders.cfm?A=Page&P...
3. Global Invasive Species Database, 2009. Ecology of Pueraria montana var. lobata.
4. State of Indiana, 2009. Beware! Kudzu is Thriving in Indiana.
5. The Windsor Star, 2009. Beware this rampaging vine. Discovered on Lake Erie shore.
6. The Windsor Star, 2009. Kudzu vine kept at bay.
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